A few minutes later, I found the Sunflower Beach Backpackers Hostel on my right and I entered. The receptionist sat behind a bar that stretched along the right side of the room. There was a pool table and various sets of tables and chairs that lined the other side. On the other side of the hall from reception was a door way that lead to other common areas and the kitchen, but to the right of the doorway a group of people were lounged out on an open wood stage filled with large red pillows. They were laughing and joking, having a great time – I had heard that this hostel was one of the more fun ones in all of Europe, so even though I only had one night here, I wanted to make it a good one.
The Elisabetta was a nice place, complete with a furnished porch stretching around most of the building and a swimming pool up on the 2nd-level deck. Walking in I was greeted with a smiling face and to my slight-surprise, they were expecting me and recognized who I was immediately. I was checked in with ease and seconds later, I could be found nearly-passed out on the bed, tired from the previous night’s festivities. I somehow willed myself to get up and change, and then head off to the blogger meet-up point. Various bloggers from all over Italy, with a few from around Europe and even a couple (including myself) from much farther places around the world were a part of the tour. From what started out a bit awkward, with silly jokes that only a blogger would appreciate, we all became engrossed in differing conversations that lapped in-between, interwoven from person to person. The best of momentary friendships were struck, and I knew that even if the weather broke and decided to rain down upon us, this would still be a great experience.
After round one and two disappeared, the two entrées I had put checkmarks near showed up, one by one. I began keeping tabs on how many courses they were serving me. After two delicious plates of heaping amounts of pasta and then breaded and baked local fish, I was filled to burst. And then my waitress brought me TWO MORE PLATES! A seriously tall pile of oysters appeared in one hand and then a carne breaded steak with asparagus in the other. I had to try it all, and I ate what I could, but I couldn’t keep up with her. The final, and SEVENTH course consisted of two plates. One was a plate with a banana and an apple, the other was a plate with a stemmed glass, topped with two-flavor gelato. I was nearly lying face-first on the table, wheezing in deep breaths, as the buttons on my pants burst off from where they were tied and hit the poor waitress in the face, causing her to fall backwards. The plates crashed and hit the couple at the table nearest me and... Okay, I’m joking, but that’s what it felt like. OH and I didn’t even mention the full bottle of white wine they graciously bestowed early on, on my table.
The blog tour had us all scheduled for a personal tour through the Cesenatico Marine museum, followed by dinner as a group. If you read much of my work, you probably know that I thoroughly despise touring museums and cathedrals – not because they’re not beautiful or interesting, but because once you’ve visited so many, they all begin to look the same, and my eyes blur over and my brain turns off. If you were to ask the other bloggers on the tour, they might have caught me wandering a bit away from the pack during the museum tour, but I took my time to make peace with my anti-museum realizations through my recent travels. I walked around aimlessly reading snippets and taking photos, and from time to time I would listen in on the guide. I do have to admit, even though it was one of the smaller museums I’ve visited, it was jam-packed with some interesting information and history – but truly the life-size boats that were displayed at centerpiece stole the show. After the tour, we met in a presentation room with a projector, and I feared with every cell in my body that I was back in school again, but instead we were pleasantly surprised by the mayor of the town. He was younger-than-expected, but enthusiastic about us all being there, experiencing his town.
For the last day of the blog tour, we all had to ride early and take out one of the traditional antique boats of Cesenatico – it was an close replication of the original boats that were featured in the museum. The Adratic was a bit rough, but I wanted to act like I was an old seafaring fisherman, so I stood and walked around a bit on the boat. The only way that you didn’t fly off the boat and into the water, when the waves hit, was to grab ahold of anything you could find. Typically, I tried to stay ahold of the ropes of the sail – and we were all lucky enough that no one fell in – even though that would have been epic! We had an hour to wander and check out more of the surrounding areas around the canal strip before lunchtime. Most of the group split up into their own mini-groups and set off in different directions. My group checked out a little cafe and peeked into the various shops with curious eyes, until it was time to meet up behind the museum.
All in all, it was a very pleasant experience for my first blog tour, and I hope that the small sea village of Cesenatico benefits from having all of us there. Because from all of their fantastic hospitality, they only deserve wonderful things from here on out – plus, the town is no doubt an interesting stop. I hope to visit again and to spend some more time on the beach next time out. A quick shout out to the organizers at Cesenatico Bella Vita: Thank you very much for inviting me and doing everything you did to make the tour a real success! Also, to all the fellow bloggers I met on the tour: You guys are all awesome! It was a true pleasure to spend time with you – we will meet again, whether it’s virtually or along another tour!
DISCLOSURE: The blog tour paid for my travel, meals and hotel stay. However, this post is written by me and are 100% of my own opinion.
More travel updates coming soon! Next update from San Marino & Verona, Italy.
Other travel updates:
Travel update I – Barcelona, Spain
Travel update II – Madrid, Spain
Travel update III – Granada, Spain
Travel update IV – Ronda & Sevilla, Spain
Travel update V – Marrakech, Morocco
Travel update VI – Marseille & Nice, France
Travel update VII – Monaco & Florence, Italy